If you're ready to take the plunge and build your own home, the first step is finding land. Check out these must-have tips for buying land to build a house.
Every year, tens of thousands of people build their own homes throughout the U.S.
This definitely isn't the most popular option for homebuyers since it requires so much more time and effort. It's still a viable option to consider, though, especially since it gives you so much control over the location and customization of your house.
Buying Land to Build a House
Are you considering building your own home? Are you looking for tips for buying land to build a house?
If so, you've come to the right place. Read on for eight helpful pieces of advice that will make the land-buying process much easier.
1. Consider the Zoning Requirements
When you're looking into purchasing a particular plot of land, one of the first things you need to consider is the zoning laws in place for that area.
Knowing the zoning laws and other requirements will help you determine whether or not you can actually build the type of home that you have your heart set on building.
Reach out to local authorities (this includes city, state, and county officials) to find out about the zoning ordinances. Do this early so you don't get attached to land that's not a good fit for you and your family.
2. Use All Your Senses
Don't get so hung up on the way a certain plot of land looks that you neglect to notice other details.
Use all your sense when you're checking out a specific area. Pay attention, specifically, to what you hear and smell when you arrive.
You might like the idea of living out in a rural area, but do you like the smells that tend to accompany these locations?
On the flip side, you might love the idea of building a house near a major city, but you might not like the sounds of cars whizzing by on busy roads late at night.
3. Ask About Natural Hazards
Be sure to find out if there are any natural hazards in the area as well.
For example, is that area prone to fires or flooding? These kinds of issues can affect the long-term well-being of your house, not to mention you and your family's safety.
Make sure you know exactly what you're getting into before you agree to purchase land in a particular area.
4. Think About the Elevation
Consider the elevation of the land you're thinking about buying, too.
Keep in mind that land that's located close to hills may be likely to shift over time. This, in turn, can lead to cracks in your foundation, which can affect the stability and structural integrity of your home (along with its resale value).
Low elevations can cause problems as well.
For example, if the land you're thinking about is near a body of water, you'll likely need to invest in a raised foundation. You'll also have to pay for flood insurance to help you make repairs in the event that your home sustains water damage.
5. Find Out if Utilities are Accessible
Depending on how far away from civilization your land is, it may be a challenge for you to access utility services.
If you don't like the idea of digging a well, or if you're turned off by the idea of paying hefty fees to bring electricity, telephone, and cable services to your property, this might not be the right patch of land for you.
Always ask about these important logistics before you set your heart on land in a specific area.
6. Get an Appraisal
It's a good idea to get an appraisal of the land before you purchase it, too. This can help you ensure you're being charged a fair price. It'll also make you aware of any potential issues that could be red flags or could serve as bargaining chips later on during negotiations.
7. Don't Lean on Loans
Getting a loan for land to build a house is different from getting a loan for a house that's already been built.
A bank can't leverage raw land. Because of this, it's more of a risk for them to loan you the money to make the purchase.
Your best bet is to work with a lender that specializes in loans for land purchases. Keep in mind, too, that it's unlikely you'll get approved for the entire purchase price of the land.
At most, you'll probably get approved for about 50 percent. Make sure you have enough money saved up to cover the rest of the land costs.
You'll also have to apply for a separate construction loan to build your home. This is often easier to do, but it'll still require you to jump through some hoops.
8. Try to Negotiate the Price Down
After you make an initial offer on a plot of land, remember that you may be able to negotiate the price of the land down. Even if you're a first time land buyer, don't let your newbie status keep you from getting a fair deal.
In order to have the best shot at getting the price you want, it's important to do your homework ahead of time, though. Before you approach the seller, do some research and make sure you have data and a solid argument for why you should pay less than what they're asking for the land.
Even if you don't get the price of the land itself negotiated down, you can still benefit from meeting with the seller. They might agree to cover a portion of your closing costs or agree to other contingencies to get the land sold faster.
Put These Tips for Buying Land to the Test
It's easy to feel intimidated at the idea of buying land to build a house. It's not as intimidating as you might initially think, though.
If you keep these tips for buying land in mind, you'll be able to find the right piece of land your home before you know it.
Do you want to learn more about building your home or decorating it after it's built? Either way, we have a lot of helpful resources for you. Visit the Home & Garden section of our blog today to check them out!